Yates amongst favourites to lose time on opening stage of Tour de France

Sat 7 Jul 2018

2016 best young rider Adam Yates has lost time on the opening stage of the Tour de France, caught up in a crash in a hectic finale into Fontenay-La-Comte today. 

Yates crashed, alongside a group that also included Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates Mathew Hayman and Jack Bauer, with ten kilometres to go but was quickly back on his bike in an effort to chase back on.

The 25-year-old crossed the line alongside big favourites Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team), 51seconds behind stage winner Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep Floors).

Easy as that – first breakaway forms uncontested:
The first breakaway of the 2018 Tour de France formed in the opening metres, with a trio of riders attacking from the flag and the peloton content to let them out in front. 

Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie), Kevin Ledanois (Fortuneo-Samsic), and Yoann Offredo (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) were kept under control all day by the peloton, and never gained an advantage that threatened the expected bunch sprint.

Opening tension: 
A controlled day often makes for a tense final, and today was no different.

Yates was caught up in a crash on the left-hand side of the road with around 10km to go. With the help of teammates, and the likes of Porte in the same group, they got back within 15seconds of the bunch.

With five kilometres to go, Froome crashed off the side of the road as the peloton wound up for the final sprint and the advantage to the Yates chase group extended back out. 

Another favourite in Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) suffered an untimely puncture just outside the safe three-kilometre to go mark and lost over a minute to the GC favourites who made the first split.

Mathew Hayman:
“Everything seemed to be going OK, of course it’s nervous as the first stage of the Tour de France, but then all of a sudden everyone is all over the road and it’s panic stations.

“We were up pretty quick. We got back together and the boys were there straight away and it looked like it was coming back together. 

“I heard on the radio that Chris had also had a crash and I knew that wasn’t good news because it wasn’t going to be an easy task to get back once that front group split again. 

“We lost some time, but these are long races. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time. You do your best not to be in that position but we were and we’re pretty disappointed. But it’s 21 days in July, not one.

“Some guys gained some time today but there’s also some favourites who have lost some time.” 

Matt White – Sport Director:
“There was a crash, I don’t know what caused it. We were in the first third of the bunch on the left-hand side of the road and Mathew Hayman, Adam Yates and Jack Bauer were caught up in it. 

“They came quite close to getting back with five kilometres to go but our guys were starting to get tired and it blew back out again in the last three kilometres when they started pulling for the sprint on the fast downhill final.

“It’s not as ideal start that’s for sure, no one wants to be giving away time to their rivals, but in the first nine days of the Tour de France you need a bit of luck. It wasn’t on our side today but tomorrow’s another day.”

 Tour de France – Stage 1 Results:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep Floors) 4:23:22
2. Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe) ST
3. Marcel Kittel (Katusha Alpecin) ST
84. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:51

Tour de France – General Classification after Stage 1:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep Floors) 4:23:22
2. Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe) +0:04
3. Marcel Kittel (Katusha Alpecin) +0:06
84. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:01

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.